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Calgary Holidays Guide

With a population of over 1.2 million, Calgary is the largest city in the resources rich province of Alberta. The north and south sectors are divided by the Bow River. Founded in 1876, originally as a trading centre for furs, the region later embraced agriculture and cattle farming and started to expand.

In the early 1900's the region experienced an economic boom when oil was discovered. Skyscrapers and corporate offices were built as major companies converged on the city. The boom continued up to the late 1970's when oil prices started to drop and the economic boom ground to a halt.

With the hosting of the 1988 Winter Olympics, world attention became focused on Calgary. A strong volunteer spirit was evidenced during the Games and continues today within the community. By 1990, the economy was once again rebounding and the population had expanded.

The city of today has a mixture of small, old commercial buildings with great architectural details standing alongside modern skyscrapers. Home to people from many diverse cultures, there is an abundance of international restaurants, steak houses, cafes, and food outlets offering a wide variety of menus.

There are lots of bars and trendy nightclubs offering music and entertainment located in the city and busking is common during the summer when the population moves above ground. There is a good selection of Calgary accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets. The city transport network makes it easy to get around to all the city highlights.

The temperatures in the winter months of November to March can vary from -2 degrees C to -20 degrees C and the sunny mild summer days range from a low of 10 degrees to 23 degrees C. Temperatures drop quickly at night, and it is advisable to be prepared at all times of the year for a sudden change in the temperature.

Calgary Highlights

Calgary Festivals: a complete list of Calgary festivals from Wikipedia

Prince's Island Park:  Located north of downtown Calgary on the Bow river, the 20 hectare island hosts many festivals and busking events and it has numerous walking trails. Part of the island features a wetland environment with an abundance of geese and mallard ducks.

Calgary Exhibition and Stampede: The grounds are located in Victoria Park and the ten day event held annually in July, attracts over one million visitors and presents the world famous and largest rodeo, concerts, agricultural competitions and many more events.

Pengrowth Saddledome: Located in the Stampede Grounds, The Pengrowth Saddledome has a seating for over 19,000 people and is Calgary's leading indoor venue for entertainment, sporting events and concerts.

Calgary Tower: The tallest structure in Calgary, this 626 feet free standing observation tower, complete with revolving gourmet restaurant, provides a great view of the city and the surrounding areas.

Stephen Avenue: No traffic to worry about in this National Historic District famous for its boutique shopping, restaurants, bars and pubs.

Chinatown: Located along Centre Street, there are plenty of Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and other Asian restaurants. food outlets, and retail shops.

Olympic Plaza: Created specifically in downtown Calgary for the medal ceremonies at the 1988 Winter Olympic Games. this urban park offers water-filled fun in the summer and ice skating in winter. In addition it hosts a variety of outdoor events, concerts and festivals throughout the year.

Glenbow Museum: With four primary collections covering ethnology, cultural history, mineralogy and military history, this huge museum also boasts an art collection of over 28,000 works, a huge library, and one of Canada's largest non-governmental archives available for any major research by historians, for students, writers or genealogists.

Telus World of Science: Drawing many thousands of children and adults each year, this centre, founded in 1976, has three fascinating and interactive exhibit areas as well as a dome theatre with digital surround sound a planetarium, and an outside amusement park, all combining to make this a science experience of fun and education especially for children.

Calgary Zoo: The second largest zoo in Canada it is home to over 1,000 animals from all over the world. The exhibits are organised into geographical regions and a large portion of the zoo is situated on St George's Island in the Bow River. There is a prehistoric park for dinosaur lovers as well as one of the zoo's most popular attractions, the Botanical Gardens.

Fort Calgary Historic Park: Located on a 40 acre site in downtown Calgary, where the Bow and Elbow Rivers meet, this is the site where the Northwest Mounted Police fort was built in 1875. Visit The Deane House, now operating as a restaurant, and enthrall at the colourful stories of Calgary’s past at the Interpretive Centre.

Inglewood Bird Sanctuary & Nature Centre: Situated along the Bow River with plenty of walking and nature trails, there are more than 250 species of birds and plants to view in this 32 hectare wildlife reserve.

The Military Museums: This facility is committed to preserving and documenting the history of all three branches of the Canadian Forces - the Canadian Army, the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Canadian Navy. It is the most extensive military museum in Canada and features a vibrant education programme for young people. The museum also features and extensive military library and is dedicated to educating the public, particularly the youth, about Canada's military history.

Battalion Park: Located on Signal Hill, the centre piece of the park is 16,000 large whitewashed stones. The numerals spelled out by these stones, pay tribute to the four battalions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force who trained in the region before embarking for overseas combat during World War I.

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